We had a great sail on Saturday – one leg being a long beam reach out to sea to a point well south of the Mewstone. The sea was a little lumpy and had taken on a deep greeny blue colour in the sunshine. For me, this was just perfect. My crew had different opinions as to the state of the sea and I started wondering why I liked it so much – where did it come from? A couple of early memories came to mind and I hope to recall a few more over time.
Memory of the Sea 1Aged 2, on the beach. A lone rock stands out in the sand, a pool has formed around it. It seemed deep to me then.
Feeling wet sand between my toes, I stand on the water’s edge, watching ripples on the surface reflected on the sand below. They drift across the water in wavy lines, dissolving into the rock beyond. Shiny seaweed, with the bubbles of sticky liquid that burst over your fingers when pressed, wave back in the clear seawater. I am entranced. The sun shines hot on my back and all is childly contentment. All at once, I am tumbling in the pool, mouth wide open sucking in water, eyes smarting with water and salt. I cry out only to take in more water. A stray wave, for that is what it is, bounces me onto the sand and rolls me over and over. I see sand, then frothy white bubbles, then blue sky as I hit the surface and then the bottom as I am sucked down again. The rock comes towards me. I flail legs and arms, and fail to find my feet. All is water. The helplessness is overwhelming. Suddenly, bright sunlight, nose running with seawater, mouth coughing, spluttering, dribbling, throat hurting, eyes stinging, Mum’s comforting arms around me, my chin on her shoulder – a brief moment of peace. Concerned faces appear behind her, relieved smiles, then laughter apparently at my misfortune. And the tears flow – not just with my own fear, but more with frustration, indignation, embarrassment and humiliation at the unfair laughter. Yes, it was all there – aged two, and remembered today, 56 years later . . . as if it happened this morning.